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Liquid-filled fiber optics boosts chemiluminescence research

August 1, 2012 4:34 am | News | Comments

Processing biological samples on a small substrate the size of a computer chip is becoming a common task for biotechnology applications. Given the small working area, however, probing samples on the substrate with light can be difficult. Researchers in Singapore have now developed an optical fiber system that is able to deliver light to microfluidic chips with high efficiency.

Tissue engineering tool creates flesh on a large scale

August 1, 2012 4:26 am | News | Comments

Imagine a machine that makes layered, substantial patches of engineered tissue. Sounds like science fiction? According to researchers at the University of Toronto, it's a growing possibility. They have invented a method that incorporates cells onto a mosaic hydrogel that offers the perfect conditions for growth.

23andMe seeks FDA approval for personal DNA test

August 1, 2012 3:24 am | by Matthew Perrone, AP Health Writer | News | Comments

For years, the Silicon Valley company has resisted government regulation, arguing that it simply provides consumers with information, not a medical service. Genetic test maker 23andMe, however, is now asking the Food and Drug Administration to approve its personalized DNA test in a move that, if successful, could boost acceptance of technology that is viewed skeptically by leading scientists who question its usefulness.

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New coating evicts biofilms for good

July 31, 2012 8:19 am | News | Comments

Biofilms stick to just about everything, from copper pipes to steel ship hulls to glass catheters, and can be both a nuisance and a health threat. A team of Harvard University scientists has developed a slick 99%-effective way to prevent the troublesome bacterial communities from ever forming on a surface.

Assay Depot partners with AstraZeneca to launch virtual research laboratory

July 31, 2012 5:00 am | News | Comments

Developed in partnership with AstraZeneca, a new private virtual laboratory product, Research Exchange, has been launched by Assay Depot. The cloud-based “laboratory” enables researchers to search for research services and vendors, communicate with experts, purchase services, and rate and review services through a single interface. 

“Diving board” sensors engineered to detect DNA

July 30, 2012 4:04 am | News | Comments

Researchers from Drexel University are in the process of refining a sensor technology that they developed to measure samples at the cellular level. Constructed from a tiny vibrating piezoelectric cantilever, the sensor may become an accurate method for quickly detecting traces of DNA in liquid samples.

Celebrated molecular biology lab manual updated, expanded

July 30, 2012 3:56 am | News | Comments

Molecular Cloning has served as the foundation of technical expertise in labs worldwide for 30 years. No other manual has been so popular, or so influential. For the fourth edition of this classic work, the content has been entirely recast to include nucleic-acid based methods selected as the most widely used and valuable in molecular and cellular biology laboratories.

R & D 100 Winners Seek Success with Partners

July 27, 2012 8:43 am | by R&D Editors | Articles | Comments

R&D laboratories take on challenges of terrorism, energy, and communications in the new millennium.

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Wyss Institute aims to mimic whole human body with organ-on-chip

July 27, 2012 7:35 am | News | Comments

The Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University this week reported that it will receive up to $37 million from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to develop an automated instrument that integrates 10 human organs-on-chips to study complex human physiology outside the body. The aim is to simulate the entire body’s physiology.

DNA could be future component of electronics

July 26, 2012 11:25 am | News | Comments

Scientists in Germany have developed a new strategy for the controlled production and metallization of DNA nanostructures. The team used a DNA strand consisting of an immobilization sequence and a metallization sequence and strung several alternating sequences together. Such a construction could someday be used in electronics.

Insights into protein folding may lead to better flu vaccine

July 26, 2012 3:36 am | by Krishna Ramanujan, Cornell University | News | Comments

A new method for looking at how proteins fold inside mammal cells is allowing researchers to take snapshots of the cell's protein-making machinery—called ribosomes—in various stages of protein production. The scientists can then piece together the snapshots to reconstruct how proteins fold during their synthesis. The findings could one day lead to better flu vaccines, the researchers say.

Supercomputer simulates cartilage in human knee joints

July 25, 2012 7:16 am | News | Comments

A Cleveland Clinic research team is developing virtual models of human knee joints to better understand how tissues and their individual cells react to heavy loads—virtual models that someday can be used to understand damage mechanisms caused by the aging process or debilitating diseases, such as osteoarthritis.

Computational method simplifies gene selection for drug development

July 24, 2012 5:58 pm | News | Comments

Researchers have developed a new computational method that will make it easier for scientists to identify and prioritize genes, drug targets, and strategies for repositioning drugs that are already on the market. By mining large datasets more simply and efficiently, researchers will be able to better understand genomic and proteomics interactions, as well as identify fellow researchers with whom they can collaborate.

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Study: Strobe eyewear training improves visual memory

July 24, 2012 3:44 am | by Julie Rhodes, Duke Institute for Brain Sciences | News | Comments

According to recent research at Duke University, performing a physical activity while using eyewear that simulates a strobe-like experience has been found to increase visual short-term memory retention, and the effects lasted 24 hours. Stroboscopic training like this tended to boost the ability of the brain to keep information alive for short-lived periods.

Protein study brings muscle movement into sharper focus

July 23, 2012 6:58 am | News | Comments

Muscle contractions are controlled by the interplay between myosin and actin filaments and two other proteins, tropomyosin and troponin, which regulate how myosin binds to actin. Theoretical models have described exactly how these muscle proteins interact, but until now it has never been observed in detail. Researchers managed to image the actin-myosin-tropomyosin complex with an unprecedented accuracy of 0.8 nm.

Genomic sequencing method offers “smarter” cell analysis

July 23, 2012 5:10 am | News | Comments

Recent research shows for the first time that a new genomic sequencing method called Smart-Seq can help scientists conduct in-depth analyses of clinically relevant single cells. The method builds on knowledge of splicing, in which it is common for one gene to give rise to several forms of the same protein through different cut-and-paste configurations of its raw copy.

Artificial jellyfish swims in a heartbeat

July 23, 2012 3:46 am | News | Comments

Using recent advances in marine biomechanics, materials science, and tissue engineering, a team of researchers at Harvard University and the California Institute of Technology have turned inanimate silicone and living cardiac muscle cells into a freely swimming "jellyfish."

World’s first sensitive artificial finger

July 19, 2012 1:45 pm | by Annette Oestrand | News | Comments

Research teams in Europe have developed a prototype of the first sensitive artificial finger. It works with an array of pressure sensors that mimic the spatial resolution, sensitivity, and dynamics of human neural tactile sensors and can be directly connected to the central nervous system. Combined with an artificial skin that mimics a human fingerprint, the device´s sensitivity to vibrations is improved.

Nanoscale scaffold, stem cells show promise in cartilage repair

July 18, 2012 4:30 am | News | Comments

Johns Hopkins Hospital  tissue engineers have used tiny, artificial fiber scaffolds thousands of times smaller than a human hair to help coax stem cells into developing into cartilage, the shock-absorbing lining of elbows and knees that often wears thin from injury or age.

Neurons derived from cord blood cells may offer new therapeutic option

July 16, 2012 4:46 pm | News | Comments

For more than 20 years, doctors have been using cells from blood that remains in the placenta and umbilical cord after childbirth to treat a variety of illnesses. Now, scientists at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies have found a new way—using a single protein, known as a transcription factor—to convert cord blood cells into neuron-like cells that may prove valuable for the treatment of a wide range of neurological conditions.

Study shows laser treatment improves burn scar appearance

July 16, 2012 4:37 pm | News | Comments

In a collaboration among researchers at the University of Cincinnati (UC), Shriners Hospitals for Children–Cincinnati and Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, burn and skin specialists have shown that use of a pulsed-dye laser tool improves the appearance, texture and elasticity of burn scars.

Nanorobot can be programmed to target different diseases

July 16, 2012 4:09 pm | News | Comments

University of Florida researchers have created a tiny particle that can be programmed to shut down the genetic production line that cranks out disease-related proteins. In laboratory tests, these newly created “nanorobots” all but eradicated hepatitis C virus infection.

Human eye inspires clog-free ink jet printer

July 16, 2012 10:10 am | News | Comments

University of Missouri engineers have recently invented a clog-preventing nozzle cover by mimicking the human eye. The invention uses a droplet of silicone oil to cover the opening of the nozzle when not in use, similar to the film of oil that keeps a thin layer of tears from evaporating off the eye. Instead of eyelids, however, researchers came up with a different solution.

Lab-engineered muscle implants restore function in animals

July 16, 2012 10:01 am | News | Comments

New research at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center shows that exercise is a key step in building a muscle-like implant in the lab with the potential to repair muscle damage from injury or disease. In mice, these implants successfully prompt the regeneration and repair of damaged or lost muscle tissue, resulting in significant functional improvement.

Cancer delivery technique may solve combined drug therapy puzzle

July 15, 2012 2:52 pm | News | Comments

Cancers are notorious for secreting chemicals that confuse the immune system and thwart biological defenses. Some treatments try to neutralize the cancer's chemical arsenal and boost immune response but are rarely successful. Researchers at Yale University have recently developed a system to simultaneously deliver both an immune-system booster and a chemical to counter the cancer's secretions.

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